Dana Scully


Dana Scully
Dana Scully
Scully.jpg
Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully
First appearance "Pilot"
Last appearance I Want to Believe
Portrayed by Gillian Anderson
Information
Occupation FBI Special agent
Family Bill Sr. (father, deceased)
Margaret (mother)
Bill Jr. (brother)
Melissa (sister, deceased)
Charles (brother)
Emily Sim (daughter, deceased)
William (son)
Birth name Dana Katherine Scully
Date of birth February 23, 1964
Affiliated with The Lone Gunmen
The X-Files

FBI Special Agent Dana Katherine Scully, M.D. is a fictional character and protagonist on the Fox television series The X-Files (1993–2002), played by Gillian Anderson. She also appeared in two theatrical films based on the series. Scully is a Special Agent of the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation, partnered with fellow Special Agent Fox Mulder for the first seven seasons and in the eighth season partnered with John Doggett. In the television series, they work out of a cramped basement office at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. to investigate unsolved cases labeled "X-Files"; as of the second film, Scully had left government employ and taken a job as a surgeon in a private Catholic hospital. In contrast to Mulder's credulous "believer" character, Scully is the skeptic for the first seven seasons, choosing to base her beliefs on what science can prove. She later on becomes a "believer" after Mulder's abduction at the end of season seven.

She has appeared in all but four episodes of The X-Files, and additionally appears in the 20th Century Fox films The X-Files, released in 1998 (sometimes subtitled Fight the Future), and The X-Files: I Want to Believe, released 10 years later. The episodes she does not appear in are "3," "Zero Sum," "Unusual Suspects," and "Travelers." She appears only briefly in "The Gift," in a flashback which reuses footage from a previous episode.

Contents

Character arc

Dana Katherine Scully was born on February 23, 1964, to William and Margaret Scully, into a close-knit Catholic family.[1][2] She has an older brother, Bill Jr., an older sister, Melissa, and a younger brother, Charles, who is never seen on the show except in flashbacks.[3] Scully's father was a Navy Captain, who died of a heart attack in early January 1994.[4] Dana Scully grew up in Annapolis, Maryland and later in San Diego, California. As a young girl, Scully's favorite book was Moby-Dick and she came to nickname her father "Ahab" from the book, and in return, he called her "Starbuck." Due to this she named her dog Queequeg.[5]

Scully attended The University of Maryland, and earned a B.S. in Physics. Her undergraduate thesis was titled Einstein's Twin Paradox: A New Interpretation.[6] While in medical school she was recruited by the FBI; she accepted the agency's offer of employment because she felt she could distinguish herself there. Upon being partnered with Fox Mulder, she maintained her medical skills by acting as a forensic pathologist, often performing or consulting on autopsies of victims on X-Files cases.[7]

In the second season Scully is kidnapped by an ex-FBI mental patient named Duane Barry,[8] and is then taken from Barry by a military covert operation that were working with the alien conspirators,[9] but is later returned.[2] In the third season she finds out that a super hi-tech microchip was implanted in the back of her neck. After having it removed, she developed cancer in the fourth season.[10]

She is hospitalized after her cancer becomes terminal. She is saved when Mulder breaks into the Department of Defense to retrieve another chip to be implanted back into her neck. It should be mentioned that, at the time, Scully was also undergoing experimental medical treatments and was having a dramatic renewal of her faith.[11]

After being pronounced infertile in the fifth season, Scully mysteriously became pregnant in the show's seventh season finale, "Requiem".[12] The child, named William, after Mulder's father, was born at the end of the eighth season.[13] The cause of her pregnancy is never formally revealed; however the most probable of theories is that Mulder fathered the child, as growing intimacy in the later portion of the series seemed to propose a sexual relationship between the two (season 7 episode "All Things" is seen as proof due to its opening scene, though the remainder of the episode takes place prior to the opening scene, and the closing scene can also be interpreted as proof against this). Beyond this, the pair had unsuccessfully tried for a child through in vitro fertilization. It was around this time that Mulder was fired from the FBI by Deputy Director Alvin Kersh,[14] and Scully left the field to teach forensics at Quantico.[15] William was given up for adoption during the end of the ninth season after Scully felt she could no longer provide the safety that William needed.[16] William was a "miracle child", of some importance to the alien Conspiracy. He demonstrated extraordinary powers, including telekinesis.[17]

In The X-Files: I Want to Believe she is shown working as a doctor at the Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital in Virginia. Early on in the film Scully is contacted by the FBI who are looking for Fox Mulder in the hope that he will assist them with the investigation of a missing FBI agent. In exchange for his help the charges against him will be dropped. Unlike Mulder, Scully was apparently not considered a fugitive by the FBI. However, she did continue to maintain her romantic relationship with Mulder throughout the six years that he was on the run from the American government. In the movie they are shown to be living together in a secluded house.[18]

Characterization

Throughout the series, her Catholic faith served as a cornerstone, although at times a contradiction to her otherwise rigid skepticism of the paranormal. Due to her career in science and medicine, she drifted from her Catholic upbringing but remained somewhat entrenched in her religious beliefs. Scully almost always wears a gold cross necklace, given to her by her mother as a Christmas present when she was a teen. When she was abducted by Duane Barry, a self-proclaimed alien abductee,[9] it was the only item left behind in Barry's getaway car. Mulder wore it as a talisman of her until Scully miraculously reappeared in a Washington, D.C. hospital.[19] After she recovered from the trauma of her abduction, he returned the cross to her.[2]

The abduction visibly tested the limits of her faith — she claimed to have been on board an alien spaceship, brought there by Barry, and she began to exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder on a case involving a murdering fetishist named Donnie Pfaster.[20] This psychological re-victimization continued after Pfaster escaped from prison five years later and again attempted to kill her in her home, ending only after she fatally shot him. She struggled with what motivated her actions to kill Pfaster, and questioned whether it was God compelling her to kill him, or "something else."[21]

Sometime after her recovery, Scully began to regularly attend Mass again. At the request of Father McCue, Scully got involved in a case concerning a paraplegic girl who was found dead in a kneeling position with her palms outstretched and eye sockets charred. After Scully discovered the girl was part of a set of quadruplets and two more were murdered, Father McCue shared with her the story of the seraphim and the nephilim, which Scully interpreted as a possible explanation for the deformations and deaths of the girls. Scully continued to have visions of Emily, and when the last girl died, Scully believed she was returning the girl to God. Upon her return to Washington D.C., she went to confession to gain peace of mind and acceptance for Emily's death.[22]

Relationships

While in medical school, she carried on an affair with her married instructor, Dr. Daniel Waterston who may have been the "college boyfriend" mentioned in "Trust No 1." It is never indicated in the show whether or not the relationship became sexual. According to Anderson in the episode's audio commentary, Scully came very close to having an affair with the married Waterston but left before she could break up his marriage. The end of her relationship with Waterston came about following her decision to go into the FBI.[23] After her entrance to the FBI's Academy at Quantico, Scully began a year-long relationship with her Academy instructor, Jack Willis, with whom she shared a birthday.[3]

Towards the end of the series, her previously platonic friendship with partner Fox Mulder developed into a romantic relationship. When Mulder was injured in a boat crash, he awakened in a hospital and told Scully that he loved her.[24] In the season six episode How the Ghosts Stole Christmas, a ghost that seems to know the inner workings of Scully's mind suggests that her source of intimacy for Mulder comes from her desire to always prove him wrong.[25] By the end of the sixth season, Mulder and Scully were increasingly shown enjoying more light-hearted activities together, such as practicing baseball,[26] using FBI funds for a "night out" during a movie premiere,[27] and watching a movie at Mulder's apartment.[28] In the season seven episode all things, Scully is shown getting dressed in Mulder's bathroom, while Mulder sleeps, apparently naked, in the bedroom.[23] In another episode, a man reveals to Scully that he works for a "new" Syndicate like-organization, and his job requires him and a few other colleagues to spy on her around the clock. Due to this he knows intimate details of Scully's personal life, right down to her "natural hair color". It is suggested by this man that Scully ultimately initiated a sexual relationship with Mulder, as he remarked that he was very surprised when she invited Mulder "into her bed".[29] The last scene of the series finale featured Mulder and Scully holding each other on a bed, facing an uncertain future together.[30]

In the film, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, which takes place six years later, Mulder and Scully are still in a relationship and are now living together in Virginia. Scully was concerned that Mulder's continuing pursuit of the unknown was taking its toll on their relationship and they could not be together if he couldn't "escape the darkness." However, the film ends with the couple sharing a passionate kiss, and in the "secret ending" after the majority of the credits, a happily smiling Scully is seen in a small rowboat with Mulder, both clad in swimwear, in a tropical sea, having taken him up on his offer to run away together.[18]

Conceptual history

Chris Carter named Scully after his favorite sportscaster, Vin Scully of the Los Angeles Dodgers. John Doggett was likewise named after Vin Scully's longtime broadcasting partner, Jerry Doggett.[31] Scully was a known name in UFO lore. In 1950 the less than credible Behind the Flying Saucers was published, written by Variety columnist Frank Scully. The name Scully was also used in 1976 film All the President's Men, an obvious inspiration for the show, in a list of names who work for the Committee for the Re-Election of the President.

Scully appears in every episode of the nine-season series with the exceptions of "3", "Zero Sum", "Unusual Suspects" and "Travelers". She has appeared outside The X-Files on numerous occasions, the most notable being in the Millennium (also created by Chris Carter) episode "Lamentation," in which the main character, Frank Black, visits the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, and Mulder and Scully are briefly seen descending a stairway. In fact, they are Duchovny and Anderson's stand-ins.[32] An animated version of Scully, which featured the voice acting of Gillian Anderson, would appear on season 8 of The Simpsons, in the episode "The Springfield Files", as well as Canadian animated series Eek! The Cat, on the episode "Eek Space 9". The animated television series ReBoot featured characters Fax Modem and Data Nully, obvious spoofs of Mulder and Scully, in the episode "Trust No One". Anderson provided her voice work for the episode, but co-star Duchovny declined.

Cultural impact

  • In the animated series ReBoot Scully is parodied as Data Nully and was voiced by Gillian Anderson.
  • Scully, along with Mulder, is strongly referenced in the song "Mulder And Scully" by the band Catatonia.
  • In the online roleplaying game World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment played an April Fools joke on the online community by fictionally creating the "Tinfoil Hat". The Blizzard Tinfoil Hat page stated that if players ate enough of a specific food or drink, agents Sculder and Mully would appear, a reference to Mulder and Scully. In the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, Horde characters in the zone of Dragonblight could find quests given by Deathguard Molder and Agent Skully.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Pack", Buffy says to Giles: "I can't believe you of all people are trying to Scully me"- when he dismisses Xander Harris's recent strange behaviour as simply typical teenage issues; it is later revealed to be the result of Xander being possessed by a hyena spirit-, and is later mentioned in "Life Serial".
  • In an episode of the television series Angel Kate Lockley, a detective who recently learned about the supernatural, corrects another detective's description of her as Scully by stating that Scully is the skeptic; her problem is that she does believe.
  • In season one of American Dad! both Scully and Mulder appear to be played by two extreme X-files fans at a science fiction convention. Mulder was also mentioned by Klaus when Roger tried to imitate the agent's background story in, "The Office Spaceman" of season three.
  • In the pilot to Supernatural, Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) manages to sneak himself and his brother into the investigation on a bridge. As two FBI agents approach them, he nods to them and says, "Agent Mulder. Agent Scully."
  • In an episode of Roswell, while Michael Guerin and Maria Deluca sneak into Courtney's house, carrying flashlights to investigate her and Maria says, "Michael! I feel like we're Scully and Mulder or something."
  • On the pilot episode of Bones, while trying to convince Temperance "Bones" Brennan to help him on a case, FBI Agent Seeley Booth (reluctantly) agrees to allow her to join him in field work by saying "Fine! We're Scully and Mulder" (although Brennan doesn't know the meaning of the names due to her ignorance of pop culture). These two characters are often compared to Scully and Mulder in fanbases, as the latter is a famous earlier example of a relationship that is platonic but filled with unfulfilled sexual tension, which is emulated on Bones.
  • On the Doctor Who spin off series Torchwood, the characters of Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper are often called Mulder and Scully.
  • In the British comedy series Spaced, it is frequently referenced that lead character Tim Bisley (Simon Pegg) is a long term fan of the character of Scully, and actress Gillian Anderson. This reflects actor Pegg's real life appreciation of Scully, and Anderson.[33] In a cut scene from the first season, Scully is seen as being something of a muse to Tim, appearing in surreal dream sequences where he seeks her advice. 'Scully' is only seen from the back, and is not played by Gillian Anderson. Coincidentally, Pegg went on to co-star with Anderson in the 2008 movie, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations", the two Temporal Investigations officers who debrief Captain Benjamin Sisko in the framing story are named Dulmur and Lucsly, anagrams of Mulder (see Fox Mulder) and Scully.
  • In an episode of Castle, while Richard Castle and Detective Kate Beckett are arguing over the existence of aliens, he says to her, "I'm not asking you to dye your hair red and call me Mulder, but just think about it."

Reception

"I love it when women come up to me and tell me I'm a positive influence on their lives and the lives of their young daughters. That's a great feeling."
Gillian Anderson talking about the reaction to Dana Scully from female fans.[34]

Actress Gillian Anderson won many awards for her portrayal of Special Agent Scully during the nine season long run of The X-Files, including an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 1997,[35] a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Drama Series in 1997,[36] and two SAG Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series in 1996 and 1997.[37][38]

The character of Scully has become something of a sci-fi heroine due to her intelligence and resilience, frequently appearing on lists of important female science fiction characters, such as Total Sci-Fi Online's list of The 25 Women Who Shook Sci-Fi, where she came fourth.[39] She is also often cited as being an unlikely sex symbol, frequently being included in lists of sexy TV characters.[40]

References

Footnotes
  1. ^ "Miracle Man". Michael Lange, Writ. Howard Gordon & Chris Carter. The X-Files. FOX. No. 18, season 1.
  2. ^ a b c "One Breath". R. W. Goodwin, Writ. Glen Morgan & James Wong. The X-Files. FOX. No. 2, season 8.
  3. ^ a b "Lazarus". David Nutter, Writ. Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon. The X-Files. FOX Home Entertainment. No. 15, season 1.
  4. ^ "Beyond the Sea". Kim Manners, Writ. Glen Morgan & James Wong. The X-Files. FOX. No. 13, season 1.
  5. ^ "Quagmire". Kim Manners, Writ. Kim Newton. The X-Files. FOX. No. 22, season 3.
  6. ^ "The Jersey Devil". Joe Napolitano, Writ. Chris Carter. The X-Files. FOX. No. 5, season 1.
  7. ^ "Pilot". Robert Mandel, Writ. Chris Carter. The X-Files. FOX. No. 1, season 1.
  8. ^ "Duane Barry". Chris Carter, Writ. Chris Carter. The X-Files. FOX. No. 5, season 2.
  9. ^ a b "Ascension". Michael Lange, Writ. Paul Brown. The X-Files. FOX. No. 6, season 2.
  10. ^ "Memento Mori". Rob Bowman, Writ. Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan & John Shiban. The X-Files. FOX. No. 15, season 4.
  11. ^ "Redux". R. W. Goodwin, Writ. Chris Carter. The X-Files. FOX. No. 1 & 2, season 5.
  12. ^ "Requiem". Kim Manners, Writ. Chris Carter. The X-Files. FOX. No. 1 & 2, season 5.
  13. ^ "Existence". Kim Manners, Writ. Chris Carter. The X-Files. FOX. No. 21, season 8.
  14. ^ "Vienen". Rod Hardy, Writ. Steven Maeda. The X-Files. FOX. No. 18, season 8.
  15. ^ "Nothing Important Happened Today". Kim Manners, Writ. Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz. The X-Files. FOX. No. 1 & 2, season 9.
  16. ^ "William". David Duchovny, Writ. Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz & Duchovny. The X-Files. FOX. No. 16, season 9.
  17. ^ "Redux". Kim Manners, Writ. Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz. The X-Files. FOX. No. 9, season 9.
  18. ^ a b "The X-Files: I Want to Believe". Chris Carter, Writ. Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz. The X-Files. FOX. No. 2 of 2.
  19. ^ "3". David Nutter, Writ. Chris Ruppenthal, Glen Morgan & James Wong. The X-Files. FOX. No. 7, season 2.
  20. ^ "Irresistible". David Nutter, Writ. Chris Carter. The X-Files. FOX. No. 13, season 2.
  21. ^ "Orison". Rob Bowman, Writ. Chip Johannessen. The X-Files. FOX. No. 7, season 7.
  22. ^ "All Souls". Allen Coulter, Writ. Frank Spotnitz & John Shiban. The X-Files. FOX. No. 17, season 5.
  23. ^ a b "all things". Gillian Anderson, Writ. Gillian Anderson. The X-Files. FOX. No. 17, season 7.
  24. ^ "Triangle". Chris Carter, Writ. Chris Carter. The X-Files. FOX. No. 3, season 6.
  25. ^ "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas". Chris Carter, Writ. Chris Carter. The X-Files. FOX. No. 6, season 6.
  26. ^ "The Unnatural". David Duchovny, Writ. David Duchovny. The X-Files. FOX. No. 19, season 6.
  27. ^ "Hollywood A.D.". Allen Coulter, Writ. Frank Spotnitz & John Shiban. The X-Files. FOX. No. 19, season 7.
  28. ^ "Je Souhaite". Allen Coulter, Writ. Frank Spotnitz & John Shiban. The X-Files. FOX. No. 21, season 7.
  29. ^ "Trust No 1". Tony Wharmby, Writ. Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz. The X-Files. FOX. No. 8, season 9.
  30. ^ "The Truth". Kim Manners, Writ. Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz. The X-Files. FOX. No. 19 & 20, season 9.
  31. ^ Levine, Ken (2011-01-30). "Naming characters on TV shows". kenlevine.blogspot.com. http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2011/01/one-of-hardest-tasks-in-any-script-is.html. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  32. ^ "Millennium Episode 117". http://www.fourthhorseman.com/Abyss/Episodes/epi117.htm. 
  33. ^ "Pegg and Frost's Perfect Night In - YouTube.Com". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLseWtoCf7M. 
  34. ^ "Gillian Anderson Bio". Ask Men. http://www.askmen.com/celebs/women/actress/21_gillian_anderson.html. 
  35. ^ "GA Wins Emmy in '97 - YouTube.Com". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rFxnULdRYw. 
  36. ^ "GA and DD win GGS in 1997 - YouTube.Com". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c69gWu6ufx8. 
  37. ^ "GA wins SAG award in '96 - YouTube.Com". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOGfCsE38TY. 
  38. ^ "SAGs - 1997 Gillian Anderson - YouTube.Com". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63ZjtqGKC50. 
  39. ^ "The 25 Women Who Shook Sci-Fi - totalscifionline.com". http://totalscifionline.com/features/3566-the-25-women-who-shook-sci-fi. 
  40. ^ "Maxim's Hottest Nerd Crushes". http://www.maxim.com/girls/girls-of-maxim/76360/hottest-nerd-crushes.html. 
Sources
  • Lowry, Brian; Stegall, Sarah (1995). The Truth Is Out There: The Official Guide to the X-Files. HarperPrism. ISBN 0061053309. 

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